East St. Louis, Illinois Mid-Century Modern

Seidel’s Apparel Company Building

by Michael R. Allen

This delightful Art Moderne storefront at 239 Collinsville Avenue in East St. Louis was installed in the late 1940’s for Seidel’s Apparel Company, which was in business at various locations in East St. Louis from 1905 until 2004. This was the final location for the store. (Read more about Seidel’s in Chapter 8 of the online edition of W. Edward English’s The Good Things of East St. Louis.)

The boldly modern facade consisted of large plate-glass display windows on the first floor crowned with a pattern-stamped sheet-metal facade covering the second floor. A neon sign with letters running horizontally was in place on the second floor. This sheet metal area was painted aqua blue except for an accent section with raised parapet above the doorway. A large neon sign on a projecting, steamlined sign board with vertical-running letters attached to this accent section, off-center on the left.

In 2005, the owners of Club Onyx bought the building and by the end of September had removed the Seidel’s letters and repainted all of the sheet metal on the facade black. At least they installed a neon sign of their own on the old sign board.